community groceries

Plains, Kansas is plugging away at addressing an issue facing many small towns on the High Plains – the lack of a grocery store. So far, about $400,000 in funding has been secured through tax credits, grants, donations and fund-raisers. That’s towards a total estimated cost of roughly 1.4 million dollars to buy land, build the new structure, and equip, stock and staff the store. The project is featured in this a recent New York Times article. While recognizing the determined efforts of community residents, it poses the question of whether the local grocery, if successfully built, will be able to overcome the “Walmart” effect. (Plains is located 25 miles northeast of Liberal, where there’s a Walmart, Dillons grocery and Asian, Mexican and natural food markets.)

Larry Dreiling / hpj.com

Some things are easily taken for granted— running down to the grocery store when you’re out of milk.  That’s now true in Morland, Kansas.  After an eight year absence, the town of 150 now has a grocery store.  Morland isn’t an isolated case.  There are about 200 little stores in the state in communities with populations under 2,000.  There are also, places like Morland that no longer have grocery retailers.

Redefining the co-op in ways big and small

Jun 23, 2013
Hilary Stohs-Krause/NET News

  The cooperative business model, long a staple of Midwestern agricultural communities, is being adapted to serve a broader range of rural needs.

For example, in the south-central Nebraska town of Elwood — population 700 — there’s a new grocery store.

“I get very emotional almost every time I’m in here, because I’m just so happy to have this store,” said Sharlette Schwenninger, who helped found the cooperative store.  The town had been without a grocery store for more than a year.